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Where are all the interesting volunteering roles?

As the New Year rolled in, I did my usual routine of trying to come up with some resolutions, only this year I was determined to think of some I might actually keep.

I discarded the usual ‘eat less cake’ and ‘exercise more’ and looked instead towards ‘volunteer’.

Ok, so I wasn’t entirely new to volunteering – I’d fostered cats for a few months through a local animal charity and collected for Barnado’s along my street a few times in the past, but this time it was different. I wanted to commit to something more regularly.

So, I typed volunteering into Google and eagerly awaited the perfect volunteering opportunity.

Sadly, it wasn’t that easy. I may have been naïve in approaching my search but I was struck by the lack of different opportunities available.

I’m not green-fingured so that ruled out gardening. My foot-eye-ball coordination is sadly poor so football coach wasn’t for me. Maths isn’t my strong point so that crossed out the numerous trustee/accountant roles the charities were crying out for. I was also struck by the number of full-time jobs that I would expect would be paid, and as I’m employed full-time they wouldn’t work for me.

My ideal of working for an animal charity was also quickly dismissed as they already have plenty of volunteers to come and cuddle the animals.

Finally, after a long search, I happened upon a few roles I felt I could help with. Namely, delivering shopping or library books to the elderly, keeping them company and occasionally chaperoning them to the doctor. I can’t commit to much time-wise , but hopefully the little I can do will make a little difference.

I appreciate that volunteer roles shouldn’t necessarily be designed to excite those who don’t currently offer their time and services, but I’m not surprised, given the lack of diversity in the roles on offer, that I currently don’t have a single friend who actually does any volunteering, Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, so feel free to point me in the right direction if I’m wrong. Where should someone look for interesting and different volunteering opportunities?

  • viva La PA

    Subscribe to ‘Do It’ – http://www.do-it.org.uk/wanttovolunteer ! Things are quiet after Christmas so I had some time on my hands and spotted a role for a volunteer via Do It to do historical research for a local community project. However, when they found out what my skill set was – I’ve ended up doing admin and set up a Twitter feed for them. Great fun and really nice people and no gardening, building walls or getting cold and wet!

  • Trudie Thorp

    We have a variety of ways to volunteer for the Royal Air Forces Association all over the country; from becoming a welfare officer, to helping at airshows, street collections and using specific skills and we try to keep current opportunities on http://www.rafa.org.uk/volunteer. We couldn’t do our vital work without volunteers and members, they are our lifeblood.

  • Ceri

    I just found out about http://givewhatyouregoodat.co.uk/ who match professionals with charities who need people with their skillset! Sounds like this could help 🙂

  • We’ve got lots of great opportunities around Strategy, PR, Marketing and Design to flex your mental muscles with and do good at the same time!

    http://brightworks.me/

    Unfortunately, no cuddly animals, but a quick and easy way to volunteer with some fantastic charities.

    Good luck with the search for interesting and different volunteering opportunities – would be great to hear if Bright Works fit the kind of role you’re looking for!

  • Thanks for your comments. Will definitely look into these opportunities.

  • I have found this article deeply concerning as there are a huge abundance and great variety of volunteering roles out there to be had… If you are looking in the right places, clearly. I work for a charity called Reach http://www.reachskills.org.uk/ . Registering as a skilled volunteer with us opens up a whole world of interesting, skilled volunteering opportunities: from trusteeship and governance to providing opperational and hands-on support, our purpose is to link volunteers to charities that need their specific skills. If you want to contribute to the third sector beyond cuddling abandoned animals and football coaching (both valauble contributions, don’t get me wrong), register as a skilled volunteer with Reach!

  • Roy 163

    Twelve years ago I volunteered to work with the Witness Support Service in the Magistrate’s Courts. I am still happily doing my one day each week and feel that the service that is offered to the witnesses and victims of crime is a really vital help on the occasions when the average person feels very uncertain about their ability to cope. Good training is given and most of the volunteers tend to be 45years old +, ——- there is no upper age limit, .